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Capturing emotions and expression in portrait painting throughout the centuries.

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Throughout the history of art capturing human emotions and expressions has played a significant role. Portraits can be made through different media such as lithography, drawing, photography, video and digital media. In my art projects I use the medium of paint to capture different portraits. Through my project I study the work of both old and more modern artists that painted portraits and how they are linked to my theme of environment. Environment and the surroundings can influence both the artists and model and the expressions they paint into the painting. The background of each artist can affect the way they paint and what they choose to paint. I chose to study major artists that influenced significantly the history of art like Rembrandt and Gustave Courbet, and more modern artists that were influenced in later stage like Daniel Barkley and JKB Fletcher.
My theme in my A-Level project was the disguise people use to hide their emotions and characteristics. We live in a world where people want to hide their emotions so they won’t be vulnerable to their surrounding environment. Through my research I studied how the artist history and background let him to paint these paintings hiding the feelings of their models. I choose to paint realistic portraits. Realism is defined as the attempt to represent subject matter truthfully. It gives emphasis on the details of every characteristic in the models face and how this presents their emotions.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was a Dutch painter born in 1606. He was considered to be one of the greatest painters of his time.
His contributions to art were extremely prolific and innovative. His reputation as an artist was high and passed his kn...

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...ig emphasis on the eyes. The fact that are closed also shows a sense of vulnerability and hiding of emotions. Some same that the eyes are the windows to the soul, the fact that you can’t see them and identify any emotions highlights why I choose this artist and his technique for my project.

Through my research, I discovered many major portrait artists with different and unique techniques that I applied to my work. I took inspiration from all the artists for both the photography part of my work but also the painting, from the colours to the brushstroke. I linked every artist to my general theme of the environment and the surroundings but also to the disguise people use to hide their identity and emotions. Studying the background of each artist really made me understand their paintings and techniques making it easier to apply them to my work as well.
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